Walks by the Sea and Water Bracelets

Today, the morning stood out in stark contrast to the world around us. It felt fresh and the skies seemed to open up. I love the fact in Springtime the sky seems to lift higher and it feels like we aren’t closed into a grey box anymore. We got up early and got ready to go for a walk. I’m finding that starting the day with a walk makes the girls’ energy levels far more manageable. Otherwise, they’d be dismantling everything in the house and fighting with each other and driving me crazy ๐Ÿ™‚

We drove to the seaside and went onto the beach. I was surprised by how few people were there. I’d expected everyone to have the same idea as a location for a “remote” walk. We walked along the shore and the girls threw rocks in the sea, built miniature sandcastles with their hands, decorated them with shells and filled the moat with water they’d scooped up with sea shells. I liked seeing what they came up with in the absence of a bucket and spade ๐Ÿ™‚ They also started jumping in the shallow water, and I just let them get on with it, even if it resulted in wet feet, because it feels like we all have so little freedom at the minute. The Stena Line passed by and it whipped up the waves and the girls pretended the tide was chasing them and ran away squealing ๐Ÿ™‚ There were a couple of dog walkers out, but other than that, it was deserted, and we had the beach to ourselves. We stayed for a while, just absorbing some sunlight and looking at the view.

Afterwards, we went to a local health food shop to get a few things. I’d forgotten how much I like going there. I’d got into a habit of convenience shopping instead of supporting local shops, and I’m trying to break that now. The girls loved going there too. The lady who owns it is so friendly and has a box of toys for kids. We got some spelt pasta, which I’ve never tried before, some biscuits, yeast, chai tea and oat milk, so I could make myself some Starbucks-style lattes ๐Ÿ™‚ The lady very kindly gave the girls a lolly each and they were so excited about them ๐Ÿ™‚ I have already noticed the girls becoming a bit less demanding, and I think the simpler lifestyle will do them no harm, apart from maybe missing the social side with others.

I picked up The Simple Things magazine and a couple of magazines for the girls. I know a lot of people think kids’ magazines are a waste of money, but I find that it settles them and it makes us sit down at the table together to work on them, and they’re educational too. For some reason the cheap toys in them provide more entertainment than any toys I’ve ever bought them. They’ve been playing pizza restaurants all day, in between other activities, with a pizza that slices into quarters and comes with a box, loyalty card, menu etc. You could recreate it with cardboard if you wanted to, for a cheap activity to do indoors, cutting out and colouring the different toppings they can add. It might keep them busy for a few hours creating the toppings ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls have been taking “phone orders” and set up a desk in the living room for their takeaway ๐Ÿ™‚

When we got home, we did some word games and I helped them with their magazines for a while. We had some coffee and snacks and I’ve set up a snack shop. I’d seen the idea for it on a friend’s social media ๐Ÿ™‚ We have a list of snacks and prices and they get a pound each in different change so they can practise counting out money and learn about budgeting for the day. Once their money is gone, they aren’t allowed any more. It’s a good way to ration snacks, and then when they run out of change, you can announce that the shop is closed for the day ๐Ÿ™‚

I dug out some stencils we had in the cupboard and the girls used them for a while. I also had a book we’d borrowed from the library about beating boredom for kids. It has some great ideas in it that don’t require materials. I find most kids’ activity books require you to make a special trip to the shop to source all the parts. The book has simple things like drawing a picture without lifting the pencil from the page, making paper cup telephones, taking fun photos, inventive ways of blowing bubbles. If anyone wants me to share some of the ideas for them while they’re indoors with their kids, message me and I’ll send you them ๐Ÿ™‚

The girls played on their bikes in the garden for a little while to get some fresh air and I hung out some laundry. I usually shove everything in the tumble drier because I don’t have time to hang out laundry and iron it all, etc, so it was nice to have the time to do that for a change. I find it quite a restful chore when I actually get around to doing it ๐Ÿ™‚ I made some fried rice for lunch with leftover rice from yesterday and the girls devoured it. They’ve been constantly hungry since they stopped school; maybe because they know that snacks are accessible at any hour of the day now ๐Ÿ™‚

After lunch, we made water bracelets with a set I had got my daughter for her birthday. You just put stoppers in a tube, fill it with sequins and beads and then fill it up with water, adding a charm before you seal it. One of my daughters wanted me to help with hers and I realised how therapeutic they are to make. They should make them for adults too. I think it would lower all our stress levels at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚

I made myself a vanilla oat latte and got a chance to do some writing while the girls watched TV. I had already made bolognese for a handy dinner. I’m going to use some of my time in the house for batch cooking – not because I’m hoarding ๐Ÿ™‚ but just because I find cooking days relaxing. I lit my white chocolate candle and was bombarded with constant questions – which made me glad I’d prepared dinner in advance for once ๐Ÿ™‚

The girls have started a new game where they skate with one rollerskate on – like a mini skateboard. I’m half amused by it – half waiting for an accident to happen :/ Before bed, they wanted to play races in the living room. I started shouting ready, steady and something silly instead of go and it turned into a new game, like ready, steady, tiny baby chick poop (probably not the best game to discourage toilet humour) but they ended up lying on the floor laughing and I didn’t have to get up and got to drink my tea while it was warm ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know what we will do tomorrow yet, and usually I have everything somewhat planned out. But I’m actually happy to let the day unfold as it decides to do without my interference ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

A Glimpse of Homeschooling and Making Some Home-Baked Treats

I decided to keep my kids off school today. My daughter was disappointed because she was meant to have a nature walk this morning. So, I decided to take them for one of our own. We went for a walk on the greenway and stopped to spot and take pictures of signs of Spring along the way. They donโ€™t usually seem to enjoy walking unless there is the promise of a playground at the end of it, but they are adapting to the way things are at the minute and seemed happy to go out and look around. I found calling it a โ€œschool tripโ€ and making jokes about how I was their new teacher seemed to help. We made a rough schedule of things to do while they are off to keep their routine in place and try to eliminate the bickering that comes with boredom ๐Ÿ™‚

I was amused when my younger daughter sat down on a wall and started to unpack her backpack. Iโ€™d thought it was empty and sheโ€™d just brought it for show but she had brought her toy kettle and cups so she could make โ€œteaโ€ while we were there ๐Ÿ™‚

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After a long walk, we sat down with snacks and coffee and my daughter did โ€œcreative writingโ€ and came up with sentences about our walk and the Spring-like things we saw. Then she used the photos of flowers weโ€™d taken to draw from. It kept her busy for a long time ๐Ÿ™‚ My other daughter coloured and cut out pages from a learning ABCโ€™s box that we got at Christmas time and hadnโ€™t really used yet. I also dug out a kidsโ€™ magazine that had come with our National Trust book. It is about the differences between the seasons and has little doors kids can open to see what they can do in each one. The suggestions for Spring are some things we can do even with social distancing: finding your first spring Blossom, counting the types of birdsong you can hear on a walk, growing a cress head in an egg shell and getting up early to watch the sunrise, as well as hunting for daffodils, making a nest out of twigs, feathers, etc, looking for a carpet of bluebells and identifying birds.

Afterwards, I got out a cookery book I hadnโ€™t used in a long time. Itโ€™s called A Girl Called Jack and was written by a single mum living on a tight budget. It has some good recipes that use up things that you tend to already have lying around your house. So, we made peanut butter thumbprint cookies. I liked the idea of the kids being able to be more involved since it was a simple recipe and they got to make thumbprints in the cookies to fill with jam ๐Ÿ™‚ My older daughter read out the measurements to me for numbers practice and then they ate the leftover jam while I washed up ๐Ÿ™‚

I drew some clock faces with times written beside them so they could practice drawing the hands on, and I was surprised by their enthusiasm. Itโ€™s weird how once you label yourself their โ€œteacherโ€ they start listening and being receptive to what you say ๐Ÿ˜€ I have a feeling it wonโ€™t last though.

I had to go out in the car to drop something off so we stopped at an honesty box farm shop at the side of the road. There are quite a few just off country games roads if you look out for signs for free range eggs. We got some eggs and jam there the other day and today we got some barbecue sauce and potatoes ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love how homemade they look in the little jars with gingham fabric ๐Ÿ™‚

When we got home, we had some hot chocolate with marshmallows and continued to divide up puzzle pieces. Weโ€™ve started a 1000 piece puzzle that is composed of six Disney scenes, so weโ€™ve been working on separating them to make it easier to begin. Iโ€™ve never done a large jigsaw before and I hadnโ€™t anticipated how time consuming it would be, so this is the perfect time for it, since all we have is time ๐Ÿ™‚ (I still have my doubts about my ability to complete one but we will see.)

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The girls had some down time while I wrote part of a new book Iโ€™m working on. There were constant interruptions but I somehow still hit my word count for the day ๐Ÿ™‚ – although it is quite dark subject matter and Iโ€™m thinking something more uplifting might be a better idea in the current situation!

I cleared some space in our living room and put records on while my kids played โ€œroller discosโ€ in their roller skates. (My next door neighbour must loathe us by now.) It helped to tire the girls out and they actually looked as tired as they would after school by the end of the day ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™ve been using up the food we had in the house, making simple dishes and trying to stretch food so we can stay away from the shops for a bit longer. I made spaghetti mixed with sardines in tomato sauce for lunch and it was surprisingly delicious ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls even ate it. For dinner, I used up some chicken goujons Iโ€™d got at the butchers, with rice, veg and the barbecue sauce we got at the farm shop ๐Ÿ™‚ We finished the day with stories and I hope I can keep up the same pace tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m thinking of making some lists of things to do indoors to inspire myself and others and keep everyoneโ€™s spirits up ๐Ÿ™‚ With a little resourcefulness, having our routines altered doesnโ€™t have to upturn our worlds.